I recently spoke with my good friend, Rabbi Sandy Seltzer. Rabbi Seltzer has mediated divorces with his wife, Rita Pollak, family law attorney, trainer, teacher and mediator and Past-President of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. We were discussing Jewish divorce and he told me about the “Seder Preidah: Ritual of Release.” I had never heard of it. When I asked him for more information, he told me he would lend me a book he wrote entitled, “When There Is No Alternative – A Spiritual Guide for Jewish Couples Contemplating Divorce.” It is the best book I have read about Jewish Divorce. The book discusses much more than Seder Preidah and I highly recommend it.
Seder Preidah is Reform Judaism answer for dealing with some of the problems of divorce. As Rabbi Seltzer says in part, “In a radical departure from classical Reform’s attitude toward divorce as a purely civil matter, the CCAR in 1988 introduced a “Ritual of Release or Seder Preidah for Divorcing Couples. Its intent has been to foster a spiritual setting for the termination of a marriage, thereby hopefully lessening it adversarial potential as well as providing a religious context for the expression of grief and loss. It is not meant to be a Reform version of the get.”
As I get older, I understand even more the need for ritual. I often told my clients that as painful as going to court when the divorce is granted, it is important because even that legal ritual provides them with more closure and helps them move on.
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